Why You Should Use Property Management Software as a First-Time Landlord

As a new landlord, you might feel in over your head learning about real estate and property management.

Between tenant screening, housing laws, insurance, rental property taxes, maintenance, and more, getting started is a serious project.

It’s also likely that you’re managing your properties on your own, or at least to start. You need adequate tools and resources to support you as you learn to tackle various rental challenges.

Free property management software is one of these resources. Consider this software to be a toolkit for starting out as a landlord and learning along the way.

Here’s why you need property management software as a first-time landlord.

Built-In Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is one of your chief responsibilities as a landlord. A thorough screening includes income verification, a credit check, and criminal and eviction histories. 

Property management software offers tenant screening directly on the platform. This is a huge benefit for new landlords. Instead of trying to juggle separate services for credit histories, criminal and eviction checks, and national watchlists, let your property management software perform these checks automatically.

You’ll receive a condensed, easy-to-read report with all the information you need to make a final assessment. Plus, you’ll usually get results quicker and with minimal added fees.

Some platforms even offer the option to automatically perform a credit check after renters apply, so you can get a better picture of an applicant from the start.

Online Rent Collection

If you newly acquired property, you should start your tenants immediately with online rent payments.

Allowing cash and check payments is an ill-advised habit. Not only are these methods less secure, but they take longer to travel in the mail and are more vulnerable to theft, damage, or misplacement. 

Not only does property management software offer online rent collection, but it also offers late fee infrastructure. As a new landlord, you aren’t used to enforcing accountability with tenants. It’s helpful to have software on your side to automatically incur late fees when your tenants don’t submit rent payments on time.

Financial Reporting and Tax Preparation

Rental property taxes and finances are one of the most complex topics you’ll need to understand as a landlord.

While it’s certainly helpful, you don’t need to hire an accountant to manage your rental finances. With property management software, you can log and track expenses, view financial reporting tools like profit/loss reports, and manage general ledger bookkeeping. 

You can also integrate an accounting platform like QuickBooks with your property management software if you’d prefer to manage your finances on a dedicated accounting application.

Paid Onboarding

Paid onboarding is an excellent benefit for landlords new to the processes of lease writing, rent collection, and tenant management. 

On many property management software platforms, you can pay a small additional fee to gain access to a personal onboarding specialist. This person will guide you through the set-up process, including lease and application uploads. They’ll answer any questions you have and help you stay on track as you start your new rental business.

Maintenance Management

A maintenance management tool is essential for all landlords. As a first-time landlord, you may be planning to handle minor maintenance concerns yourself while you find reliable contractors and build long-term partnerships with them. A maintenance management tool helps you do just that.

On your software, tenants can set up accounts and submit maintenance requests with photos and videos. If you’re handy (or willing to watch a few YouTube tutorials), you can handle the problem yourself. 

When you do need to hire long-term maintenance contractors, you can add them as additional users on your software. They’ll be able to view only what’s relevant for their jobs, while you can still closely track the progress of different projects and check in with tenants once completed.

Start Off Strong with Property Management Software

Starting out as a new landlord can be intimidating. With much to learn in all areas of property management, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the volume of tasks you’re responsible for. However, property management software can automate much of the heavy lifting. You’ll find you can successfully manage your new properties while saving time to continue learning about rental property management. 

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